This project is closed and will be available for print on December 1, 2012.
Summary: Finding Church is a Civitas Press community project that explores stories of people and their relation to church. The church is currently experiencing seismic shifts in how people think of church and get involved with church.
On the one hand, the number of mega churches in existence continues to increase every year. People are returning to church who have not attended in years, and more often than not, when they return to church, it is to a mega church where they get the best sermons, the best music, and the best programming. In a culture where excellence is required, mega churches are often seeing substantial increases in size and influence.
But at the same time, millions of people “leave church” every year. This is not because they are abandoning God, ignoring Scripture, or giving up on Jesus. While a few do leave for such reasons, the vast majority report that they leave church to better follow Jesus, obey God, and live out their faith in meaningful and relational ways. They stop attending church to pursue something more intimate and personal.
Behind each and every person who has returned to church or stopped attending church, there is a story filled with doubt, fear, and judgment, as well as faith, freedom, and redemption. And though millions of people have similar stories, many feel alone on their journey back to or away from church. It also does not help that those people who are returning to church often condemn and criticize those who are leaving, and those who are leaving sometimes judge and denounce those who return.
It is for these reasons that your story needs to be told. Telling your story will inspire others to take a step of faith in following your example, and will help those who disapprove to hear what led to understand the decision you made and why you made it.
We are looking for real, honest stories of people wrestling with this issue. We encourage you to let it all out on the page, and share in detail both the external circumstances and the internal conflicts that arise because of it. When at all possible show – don’t tell. Give us the gritty details, the emotions, the conflict, how you felt, how you responded (good and bad), and what you learned, if applicable to your story. Although we rarely censor graphic content or language if it serves the story, we ask that you use discretion. Please make sure that in telling your story, you do not condemn those who are finding church on a different path. We are NOT looking for self-help essays on solutions, professional opinions, theological argumentation, or personal agendas.
The project is currently broken up into four categories. These categories may change as the project develops. We encourage you to shape your submission to fit within one of these categories.
- Leaving Church
Stories about personal life adjustments, theological changes, or church moral failures which led people to leave church for good.
- Returning to Church
Stories about people who used to attend church years ago, but stopped for a while, and have now decided to start attending again. These stories explain why they left, and what caused them to return.
- Reforming Church
Though many people are leaving the church and criticizing how church is done, some people want to stay within their church and be part of the solution. These stories relate what problems exist in the church, and how the person is seeking to reform and renew the church from within.
- Changing Church
Many people leave one church to attend another. Sometimes they attend a similar church across town; other times the new church is a completely different denomination, or form of church, such as going from a mega-church to a house-church. These stories reveal what moves the person made, and why they changed churches.
Current Authors Contributing Content: Jeremy Myers (Narrator), Jonathan Brink, David Spell, Alan Knox, Kimberly Parker, Brian Swan, John Martinez
Project Coordinator: Jeremy Myers
Word Count: 1,000 – 2,000 words
Submission Deadline: April 30th, 2012
Estimated Publishing Date: November 2012
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